I must say that all of my concerns and fears of running a 5k this early into the training came true. I had five questions heading into the race and it didn't take long for each one to get answered.
1.) What if I finish last? - This was entirely possible. 600 or more people entered this race and my guess is that each and every one has run more over the last year than I have. This became crystal clear just by looking at the other runners sneakers compared to my bulky, ugly, not-ready-for-prime time clown shoes. The best decision I made was not running alone. Prior to the race, I decided to hire two pace-setting, motivational coaches to drag me by a leash through the course. Every time I stopped (at least a dozen times) , these two road angels would crack the whip, tighten the reigns and pull me through. High fives all around for being team players despite the whining, kicking and screaming from yours truly.
2.) What if these ol' getaway sticks just can't take the distance? - They couldn't. It wasn't just the getaway sticks that had trouble, but I felt pain in my toes, gut, chest, back, fingers and shoulders as well. I mean, my entire freaking body was ready to shut down by the 2.5-mile mark. I have plenty of excuses for this. The heat, the shoes, the hills, the lack of carbs, the lack of water... and the list could go on.
3.) Will I hold up the others I'm running with? - I did. I'm learning that distance running is about 103% mental, 72% training, and 35% experience and 86% heart. It took all 296% of me to keep it going. However, my teammates were awesome. As noted above, they refused to let me stop for more than a few steps. Even though they and I knew that keeping a steady pace is imperative to getting through any run - they stayed right with me.
4.) What effect will the 90 degree weather have? - A negative effect. It was HOT. I mean it was Alessandra Ambrosio hot. It was Adriana Lima hot. It was.. you get my drift. The 1:00pm start time will not be a factor come Summer as most races are in the morning. I now understand why. My dogs were barkin' and burnin' about a mile into it. One positive - my bald, sweaty dome got some sun for the first time in '09.
5.) Do I get a T-shirt? - Yes. And I plan on retiring it along with the number "546" bib that came with it.
While the 31 minutes and 27 seconds I was actually running were pure hell, the entire experience was great. I truly can't wait for the next one and this has only fueled my desire to take on Week 2. All I'm concerned with at this point is making progress each week. I can honestly say that much progress was made in Week 1. I stayed on schedule, learned that I am currently at a ten minute mile pace, and - with some help- can get through a 5k. 24 weeks left to turn this greasy, soft butterball of love into a lean, mean street-slaughtering running machine and everything is currently on schedule.